Tales of a wandering lesbian

Fire, fire!

One of the greatest parts of my job is working our charity golf tournaments.  Last week, our Eastern Oregon golf tournament teed off in Pendleton.  I was lucky enough to get to go.

The best part of the tournament is the large number of prizes that are raffled off.  A major big-box company donates a lot of the scratch/dent and damaged box items that come through its Eastern Oregon Distribution Center.  Score!

So, I bought $20 worth of tickets and held my breath.

I really wanted a digital camera – you know, for my trip – and I almost got it!  I was drawing the tickets, and had two in my hand.  After I handed one to the woman assigning prizes, I looked down and realized I’d chosen one ticket for the camera (not mine), and had another one in my hand for the next prize (mine!).  Not amusing.  But, when I walked over to see what I’d won, I was super excited to see a huge-ass, cast-iron fire pit!  Awesome!

I grabbed it and hauled it to my car.

I had big plans to put this thing together and roast marshmallows that night.  I’ve largely stopped eating refined sugar, but a perfectly toasted marshmallow is a special weakness from childhood.  I stopped at the store and bought the stuff for not only mallows, but for smores.

By the time I’d driven back from Pendleton and unpacked, it was too late to set up the pit, and I was freaking out, because I knew I’d be out of town for a couple of days (at a fabulous lesbian wedding).  I might have been a little desperate.  I found some bamboo skewers in the drawer and did the only thing I could – turned on the glass-top stove burner.

You know you can make a pretty good mallow on the stove?

Stove Mallow

Well, you can.  And I did.  4 of them.  2 as smores.

Golden Mallow

After I flew around the ceiling a couple of times, I had a deep and meaningful sugar crash.


It was a couple of days until I was back at the house, where the fire pit had been waiting patiently.  We’re in the middle of a nasty global heatwave (perhaps you’ve heard), and it was nearly 100 degrees that day.  I carefully considered the heat, and my desire to play with the fire pit.  The fire pit won.  While I was proudly dragging it into the back yard, my neighbor came over to see what I was doing.  They’ve got two kids, one of whom is less than a year old.  When I told her I was putting together the fire pit so that we could have smores later that night, she dropped her voice to a whisper and said “I’m in.  Let me know when.”  I assured her that I would and set myself to the task of assembling my prize.

Fire pit!

Once I finished I hid in the relative cool of the house until I could reasonably justify lighting a fire.

At 8PM, when it finally cooled to 80 degrees, I ventured out with matches and tampon in hand.  (We’d learned earlier in the month from the industrious lesbians at a friend’s barbecue, that tampons are incredibly efficient fire starters.  Lightweight and compact, they’re an essential part of an emergency kit – for more than one reason.)

After about a half hour of working it out, I had a respectable blaze started.  When I knocked on the neighbor’s door, they were waiting, wine bottle in one hand, and baby monitor in the other.

Now, our backyard is pretty much a dry weed field with a dug up yucca, a tarp, and a couple of dog poop land-mines thrown in for charm.  But, with a fire pit, we’ve got the most amazing sanctuary around.  The four of us sat on the ground for well over an hour, eating smores, and basking in the glory of the fire pit.  It was seriously dark when we finally tore ourselves away from staring into the glowing coals, and poking at them with the new poker that came in the box.   We sat and stalled, not wanting to end a great evening, wanting to soak up the last ounces of magic that the fire pit had offered.


It’s amazing the things that are inside of each of us that draw us together.  I forget sometimes how the simplest things can connect souls, igniting something innate, evoking community, and transporting us.  The simple lighting and sharing of fire is one of those things, I think.  As magical and powerful now as it was when I was a Girl Scout, or a camp leader.  I wonder what else I’ve forgotten – and when I’ll be reminded.

I’m totally glad I didn’t win the camera.

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July 29, 2009   4 Comments